If Ireland is to secure as much as it can during negotiations on Brexit it is essential that the Taoiseach and our European commissioner Phil Hogan are singing from the same hymn sheet.
That is clearly not the case, judging from Leo Varadkar’s public admonishment yesterday of Mr Hogan, directly contradicting his stated view that negotiations are at a cliff edge to a hard Brexit.
“I think we’ve a long way to go yet,” he told journalists in Brussels ahead of the EU summit.
“Brexit doesn’t happen until April 2019. We’re quite far back from the cliff edge.”
That may well be so but, instead of scoring points against a member of his own team, it would be better if the Taoiseach used his obvious talents to forge new relationships and cement old ones in order to strengthen Ireland’s position in the EU after the UK leaves the union.
In fairness, he already appears to have grasped the importance of that by attending a meeting of the Nordic-Baltic group, an alliance of northern European states with shared values and similar open trading economies to Ireland. It was his first Nordic-Baltic leaders’ group meeting.
He also exhibited political astuteness and a thorough grasp of Ireland’s particular vulnerability to Brexit when he said: “I’m very keen that Ireland builds new political alliances in Europe. That’s going to be particularly important when we lose our biggest ally — Britain — in a year or two.”
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